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Landships! Tactical Weapons Innovations 1914-1918» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Brief Review of Landships! rss

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Mark Mokszycki
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Washington
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A Brief Reivew of Landships! by Mark Mokszycki

First things first. I am not an expert on this game by any means. In fact, I have only dabbled with a couple scenarios. This "review" is really more of a collection of first impressions, and should not be taken as gospel. Having said that, let's get started...

This looks to be a very nice game- a bit like Squad Leader set in WW1.

PROs: The rules are well written for the most part. This game sets out to do a lot, and it somehow manages to do it all quite well.

The game offers a unique perspective on WW1. It's not just a stalemate of facing trenches. Zooming in on the trenches, Perry Moore shows us that there is a mobile war going on at the tactical scale. There are interesting decisions to make every turn, and the gameplay is tense.

A 4 page set of Quick Start rules plus scenario get you up and going in no time at all. Nice touch, and very appreciated!

The components are drop dead gorgeous.

The system is easily expanded, and it would work very well as a construction set.

Errata is reasonably short for a game of this scope.

CONs: I have read that many of the scenarios are terribly unbalanced. Still, if taken as an educational excercise, this is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself (I've played enough Berg games to know!).

The rules do contain a few problems here and there, the worst of these being the rule for Becoming Unspotted, which states "A unit remains Spotted until it eliminates all enemy units which Spotted it, or it moves to a new location from whch it is out of Spotting range or no LOS exists to it." Huh? It's bad enough that this necessitates a ton of bookkeeping (who spotted who), but the units are "generic" and not even designated with any kind of formational I.D., so there is no way to bookkeep this info anyway! Not to mention, the way the rule is worded makes it sound like "it" has to do the eliminating itself, which clearly is not the intention. None of this is addressed in the errata. Players are left to themselves to come up with a reasonable set of spotting rules.

Keeping track of units that moved and fired is also necessary in this game, but we are given no markers for this purpose. Still, this is easy enough to remedy. We found that Gamers TCS markers worked very well.

Overall: Still a superb effort! None of the cons keep this game from being playable, and most importantly of all, the game is *fun.* The interactive turn sequence means you'll always have something to do... no sitting bored while your opponent trudges through his long turn. I would recommend Landships! to anyone with an interest in WW1, or with an interest in tactical combat in general. I am very pleased with my purchase. My rating will probably increase as I play my way through the scenarios.

My ratings:

Overall: 7 / 10
Complexity: 3.5 / 10 (learning scenario) 5 / 10 (advanced rules)
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A good review. I mostly agree except for the quality of the components.
The maps are nice, and the chits are the old styled thick kind, but the art work on the chits is simple and lame. Perhaps this adds to the WW1 aura, but I would have preferred a nicer SL looking verision.

Good idea with the TCS counters. I think I'll borrow my ATS counters to do the same thing. Still not sure how to handle the tracking of spots.
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nick P
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Good old TCS - I've used their fired counters to mark fired ships when playing my Avalanche GWAS and SWWAS battles. Anyway, I've just bought Landships and it looks pretty good. Does it remind you of Avalanche's Panzer Grenadier - something in the presentation of scenarios and also the eclectic array of situations that are selected?
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M St
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Actually, it is almost the opposite of Panzergrenadier insofar as it covers the whole war in one box. Panzergrenadier would try to slice this up into a separate game per theatre with modules added for (ultimately) not much more fun but much more $$$.

By the way, I do disagree with the claim that the rules are well written. They have holes and are rather convoluted. They're workable though.
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